Mandy was born to teach

February 20th, 2018

“Every student should have the chance to attain basic literacy of how computing “works” and to gain a basic knowledge of how they communicate. From there, every student should be able to see themselves in computing.”

Teacher: Mandy Vonnie-Buehlander

School: Decatur Township School for Excellence

Subject: AP Computer Science Principles

How would you explain computer science to someone is completely unaware of the subject? 

Computer science is the study of how computers “do” the things they do.

Why do you think it is important for students to take Computer Science courses?

Understanding even rudimentary computer science is a basic skill. Students use computer based tools constantly, but they don’t necessarily understand what is “behind” them.

What motivated you to become a teacher?

I was born to be a teacher. It is my calling. Well-meaning people guided me out of pursuing it when I was in college. I went to grad school to study pure mathematics, which I liked. But, by far my favorite part of grad school was being a TA and then teaching introductory calculus for business majors. So, I worked my way back to teaching from there.

What is your favorite movie and why?

West Side Story — Its themes are still relevant. It has great/catchy music and dance scenes. And, Rita Moreno!!!

If you could correct one misconception about Computer Science, what would it be? 

That it is “hard” or dull. Computer science is fun; it’s solving puzzles and improving solutions both on your own and with a team.

What does CS for All mean to you?

Every student should have the chance to attain basic literacy of how computing “works” and to gain a basic knowledge of how they communicate. From there, every student should be able to see themselves in computing. Finally, we must support systemic structures within computing professions which value inclusivity.

Please tell us about a hobby or interest you have?

Is being obsessed with “Hamilton” a hobby?

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I enjoy rap and hip-hop with something to say. Kendrick Lamar’s “Damn” is constantly on my playlist these days.

What makes Nextech special? 

Stephanie Zircher makes Nextech special. In my career it has been rare to meet someone outside of the teaching profession who truly respects what we do. She does. This makes me think highly of, and want to continue a relationship with, Nextech.

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